Offer Your Indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory!

The Poor Souls in Purgatory suffer intensely, and they desperately need our help! One could quote many a Saint, Doctor of the Church, private revelation, and so on, confirming this fact; but the following consideration will suffice:

St. Teresa of Avila, while yet a pilgrim on earth, was overcome with such an intense longing for God that this constituted for her a veritable torture. Our Lord told her that this thirst for Himself – a manifestation of His intimate union with a soul – would be her Purgatory on earth, comparing her suffering and purification to gold in the furnace! (Perhaps you have read about the very “Purgatorial” sufferings of St. Catherine of Genoa?)

While it is true that Purgatory has varying types and degrees of punishments, the truth remains that there are many souls there who are literally burning with desire to see God face to Face, but who can do nothing to ease their pain. This is up to us. It is such an easy way to practice a very high form of charity! Also, the dividends are enormous… but that is secondary.

If Bl. John Massias released 1.2 million souls from Purgatory, we can at least hope to release a few souls! If St. John Vianney said that an aspiration (i.e. a short prayer, such as “My Jesus, mercy!”) often *saved* a soul, surely our prayers for the poor souls will not be in vain.

As you may know, the Church possesses the Keys to an Infinite Treasury of graces. Consider the Sacred Heart; consider the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. “I am the Door,” said Jesus; yes, and He gave St. Peter (and, by extension, the Church) the Keys.

Indulgences, put simply, are the application of Christ’s merits to a soul; they are a means of repairing the damage done by sin; they remit some or all of the temporal punishment that one is owing to God. Indulgences can be partial or plenary. It is definitely worth doing some more reading on the subject if you are not too familiar with it.

Since praying more seriously for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, my life has changed for the better. If you want to please Christ; if you want to console His aching members; if you want to amass a treasury of merits for Heaven; if you want many holy souls (and Heavenly friends) praying for you, then say many indulgenced prayers, and offer them all to Our Lady. As the Queen of Purgatory, she will distribute our indulgences in the best way possible.

“Father Faber, in his beautiful book “All for Jesus,” enumerates six advantages which accrue to us, from our giving over our Indulgences to the
holy souls in Purgatory.

1. First, it considerably increases our merit, and consequently our claim to glory.
2. Next, it lays the soul that we release under a particular obligation to us, both because of the singular benefit it receives from entering all the sooner into glory, and also because of the tremendous sufferings from which it is delivered.
3. Moreover, it gives us the consolation to think that those, whom we have released from Purgatory, are doing for us in heaven the great work of loving, praising, and glorifying God on our behalf.
4. Again, it adds fresh joy to the Church triumphant, from the fact that to the heavenly hierarchy a new citizen is added who can sin no more, whilst to the Church militant it brings comfort from the gain she has made of a new advocate.
5. Besides, it secures a prompt application of our Indulgences, which, in the possible case that we were in no want of them for ourselves, might remain for many years buried in the treasury of the Church.
6. And last of all, it entitles us to a speedy discharge of our own debt in Purgatory; for, if temporal alms are satisfactory above most other good works, much more will spiritual alms be so. And if he who gives up anything for God receives a hundredfold, we may have a security that, to recompense us for our generosity, He will so deal with us, that we shall need little Purgatory, or He will inspire devout souls to
pray for us.”
(Taken from ‘Indulgences: Their Origin, Nature and Development’ by Alexius M. Lepicier)

“To become a saint it is sufficient to gain all the indulgences possible.”
– St. Alphonsus

Keep falling into the same sins? Pray!

“He who prays most receives most.”

– St. Alphonsus

Rather than provide a theological argument for the importance of (mental) prayer, I will rely on the authority of the Church and the saints. What they say about mental prayer, quite simply, is that it is the means for obtaining all good things: confidence, peace, joy, happiness, humility, conversion, virtue, and the crowning graces, namely, divine love and final perseverance, without which no one can be saved.

What is Mental Prayer?

“… a silent elevation and application of our mind and heart to God in order to offer Him our homages and to promote His glory by our advancement in virtue.” – Tanquerey 

Some simple steps for mental prayer:

1. Ask for the grace to pray well.

2. Put ourselves in the presence of God.

3. Resolve to pray for a certain period of time, despite temptations, dryness etc.

4. Make a firm resolution to overcome a particular sin, or to practice a particular virtue.

What do the saints say about mental prayer?

One cannot fail to make a firm resolution to pray more frequently (or at least more attentively) after having read the following words:

“Short of a miracle, a man who does not practice mental prayer will end up in mortal sin…

All the saints have become saints by mental prayer.”

– St. Alphonsus

Why is this so? Here is what St. Peter of Alacantara has to say about mental prayer:

“IN MENTAL PRAYER, THE SOUL IS

purified from its sins,

nourished with charity,

confirmed in faith,

and strengthened in hope;

the mind expands,

the affections dilate,

the heart is purified,

truth becomes evident;

temptation is conquered,

sadness dispelled;

the senses are renovated;

drooping powers revive;

tepidity ceases;

the rust of vices disappears.

Out of mental prayer issues forth, like living sparks, those desires of heaven which the soul conceives when inflamed with the fire of divine love. Sublime is the excellence of mental prayer, great are its privileges; to mental prayer heaven is opened; to mental prayer heavenly secrets are manifested and the ear of God [is] ever attentive.”

“By the efficacy of mental prayer temptation is banished, sadness is driven away, lost virtue is restored, fervor which has grown cold is excited, and the lovely flame of divine love is augmented.” – St. Laurence Justinian

“When one does not love prayer, it is morally impossible for him to resist his passions.” – St. Alphonsus

Many more quotes could be added, but these are sufficient. Here are some further tips for overcoming sin, discouragement and unhappiness:

“In the spiritual life, one must always go on pushing ahead and never go backwards; if not, the same things happens to a boat which when it loses headway gets blown backwards with the wind.” – St. Padre Pio

“Impregnate yourself with humility, and you will soon find that all other virtues will follow without any effort on your part.” – Fr. Cajetan

“God requires of us only strong resolutions; he himself will do the rest.” – St. Teresa of Avila

” How much soever you have advanced here below, you err if you think your vices are not only suppressed, but dead.” – St. Bernard

“So long as we tackle all our troubles ourselves, we shall be always worried and tired, and Our Lord will leave us to our own devices; but when we leave everything to Him, He will look after all our troubles Himself. … . I am not just speaking of temporal things, but also of spiritual ones.” – St. Francis de Sales

“If you say the Holy Rosary every day, with a spirit of faith and love, our Lady will make sure she leads you very far along her Son’s path.” St. Josemaria Escriva

” A prayer in which a person is not aware of Whom he is speaking to, what he is asking, who it is who is asking and of Whom, I don’t call prayer- however much the lips may move.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“We must not be upset by our imperfections; instead, we must recognize them and learn to combat them. And it is in fighting against our imperfections without being discouraged by them that our very perfection consists.”

– St. Francis de Sales